Nicander also, in the second book of his Georgics, gives a regular list of the flowers suitable to be made into garlands, and speaks as follows concerning the Ionian nymphs and concerning roses:—
And many other flowers you may plant,(but by the word θρῖα he does not here mean the leaves of fig-trees, but of the poppy).
Fragrant and beauteous, of Ionian growth;
Two sorts of violets are there,—pallid one,
And like the colour of the virgin gold,
Such as th' Ionian nymphs to Ion gave,
When in the meadows of the holy Pisa
They met and loved and crown'd the modest youth.
For he had cheer'd his hounds and slain the boar,
And in the clear Alpheus bathed his limbs,
Before he visited those friendly nymphs.
Cut then the shoots from off the thorny rose,
And plant them in the trenches, leaving space
Between, two spans in width. The poets tell
That Midas first, when Asia's realms he left,
Brought roses from th' Odonian hills of Thrace,
And cultivated them in th' Emathian lands,
Blooming and fragrant with their sixty petals.
Next to th' Emathian roses those are praised
Which the Megarian Nisæa displays:
Nor is Phaselis, nor the land which worships
The chaste Diana,1 to be lightly praised,
Made verdant by the sweet Lethæan stream.
In other trenches place the ivy cuttings,
And often e'en a branch with berries loaded
May be entrusted to the grateful ground;
* * * * *2
Or with well-sharpen'd knife cut off the shoots,
And plait them into baskets,
* * * * *
High on the top the calyx full of seed
Grows with white leaves, tinged in the heart with gold,
Which some call crina, others liria,
Others ambrosia, but those who love
The fittest name, do call them Venus' joy;
[p. 1092] For in their colour they do vie with Venus,
Though far inferior to her decent form.
The iris in its roots is like th' agallis,
Or hyacinth fresh sprung from Ajax' blood;
It rises high with swallow-shaped flowers,
Blooming when summer brings the swallows back.
Thick are the leaves they from their bosom pour,
And the fresh flowers constantly succeeding,
Shine in their stooping mouths.
* * * * *
Nor is the lychnis, nor the lofty rush,
Nor the fair anthemis in light esteem,
Nor the boanthemum with towering stem,
Nor phlox whose brilliancy scarce seems to yield
To the bright splendour of the midday sun.
Plant the ground thyme where the more fertile ground
Is moisten'd by fresh-welling springs beneath,
That with long creeping branches it may spread,
Or droop in quest of some transparent spring,
The wood-nymphs' chosen draught. Throw far away
The poppy's leaves, and keep the head entire,
A sure protection from the teasing gnats;
For every kind of insect makes its seat
Upon the opening leaves; and on the head,
Like freshening dews, they feed, and much rejoice
In the rich latent honey that it bears;
But when the leaves (θρῖα) are off, the mighty flame
Soon scatters them . . . .
Nor can they place their feet[p. 1093] (But for ἐφελκόμεναι χροιῇσιν some copies have ἐφελκόμεναι φιλοχροιαῖς).
With steady hold, nor juicy food extract;
And oft they slip, and fall upon their heads.
Swift is the growth, and early the perfection
Of the sampsychum, and of rosemary,
And of the others which the gardens
Supply to diligent men for well-earn'd garlands.
Such are the feathery fern, the boy's-love sweet,
(Like the tall poplar); such the golden crocus,
Fair flower of early spring; the gopher white,
And fragrant thyme, and all the unsown beauty
Which in moist grounds the verdant meadows bear;
The ox-eye, the sweet-smelling flower of Jove,
The chalca, and the much sung hyacinth,
And the low-growing violet, to which
Dark Proserpine a darker hue has given;
The tall panosmium, and the varied colours
Which the gladiolus puts forth in vain
To decorate the early tombs of maidens.
Then too the ever-flourishing anemones,
Tempting afar with their most vivid dyes.
And above all remember to select
The elecampane and the aster bright,
And place them in the temples of the gods,
By roadside built, or hang them on their statues,
Which first do catch the eye of the visitor.
These are propitious gifts, whether you pluck
The many-hued chrysanthemum, or lilies
Which wither sadly o'er the much-wept tomb,
Or gay old-man, or long-stalk'd cyclamen,
Or rank nasturtium, whose scarlet flowers
Grim Pluto chooses for his royal garland.